KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 ― A case as significant as the sedition prosecution of University Malaya law lecturer Dr Azmi Sharom should be heard in the High Court first if it is to be resolved by the country’s apex court ultimately, his lawyer asserted today.
The academic is seeking to transfer his case from being tried in the Sessions Court to the High Court.
In today’s hearing, Azmi’s lawyer Gobind Singh Deo submitted that there were constitutional issues that could only be resolved by the Federal Court.
However, he said complications might arise if the case were to be heard in the Sessions Court, as the bulk of legal challenges there end in the Court of Appeal.
“We applied to transfer the trial to High Court under Section 417 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
“If the trial is held here, it would end up mostly at Court of Appeal. Whereas if it starts at High Court, it will end up at Federal Court,” he told the Sessions Court judge Amernudin Ahmad.
The judge deferred his decision on the issue to tomorrow.
On September 2 last year, Azmi was charged under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act 1948 together with an alternative charge under Section 4(1)(c) of the same law at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court for a remark he made in an article published on Malay Mail Online.
Section 4(1)(b) covers “uttering any seditious words” while Section 4(1)(c) deals with individuals who publish seditious publications, among other things.
If convicted under either charge for his quotes in the article titled “Take Perak crisis route for speedy end to Selangor impasse, Pakatan told”, the UM associate professor could face a maximum fine of RM5,000, a maximum three-year jail term or both.
Azmi had tried unsuccessfully to challenge the constitutionality and validity of the Sedition Act on the basis that the law was not passed by Parliament, and was ordered to stand trial.